Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist/Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Chewbacca has been sent out on a special mission, but his ship is less than trustworthy and he finds himself stuck on the backwater planet of Andelm-4. He is not only stuck on the planet but is now starting to get some unwanted attention from the locals.
The book opens with the usual opening “crawl” that all of the other Star Wars titles have, but this one is tweaked a bit more towards Chewie’s view on things. We should be glad that they didn’t decide to write it in Shyriiwook. We don’t immediately meet up with Chewie, instead we meet a young girl named Zarro and her father Arrax. Turns out they owe some money to a local bad guy by the name of Jaum.
Jaum has a plan for them to work off their debts in his mines, which never works out well for those who find themselves in debt. Zarro manages to escape and is now on the run, which is when she runs into Chewie.
The creative team made an interesting decision here to not subtitle or translate anything Chewie says but to also team him up with someone who doesn’t understand anything the wookiee says. It’s standard form for Star Wars to not subtitle a wookiee, which is probably why we’ve never gotten a book or series like this with a wookiee as the main character. It’s a bold choice, but it works for the story here. We the audience, mostly know what Chewbacca and other wookiees are trying to say by their tone and inflection. That is mostly gone here since everything he says is a variation on “HRRAAAARRGGHR” or “WRRYEEENHH” so we have to rely entirely on Zarro and her reactions to what she thinks he is saying.
The plot of the book is a fairly simple one, which is good since we can’t understand what one of the lead characters says at any time. However, a simplistic plot works well here, echoing the classic Star Wars hallmarks and archetypes. Zarro feels much like Ezra or a young Anakin Skywalker, we don’t need much to immediately understand their circumstances.
Phil Noto is one of my favorite artists and he has captured the world of the wookiee well. Gerry Duggan has written a good story with a strong focus on character, there isn’t much for action, but it’s no less exciting because of it. Marvel is clearly taking a risk here by giving Chewbacca his own solo series, but it goes to show that they are willing to take chances and not just give us the same old stories every month.